Young Children’s Planning Collaborative Problem-solving

Although there have been a number of studies with children in the age range of 4 to 9 years of age performing joint planning tasks with adults and sometimes peers, ours is the first experimental study of young children’s planning prior to action in a collaborative problem-solving context. The finding suggests that by age 3 children are able to learn, under certain circumstances, to take account of what a partner is doing in a collaborative problem-solving context. By age 5 they are already quite skillful at attending to and even anticipating a partner’s actions. Future research should focus on comparing children’s individual problem solving and planning skills with those they show in collaborative problem-solving contexts. Our study thus raises questions about the relation between individual and collaborative problem-solving. Although not designed to directly address this question, our results suggest that young children do not have additional difficulties employing their planning abilities in problem-solving tasks requiring collaboration. In fact, it raises the possibility that children employ similar cognitive representations when they reason about two complementary actions (in terms of means-end relationships) as when they reason about two complementary roles (in terms of social partners executing these actions).

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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